How to stop WinXP from displaying files in groups by default

Every time I explore a disc in my CD/DVD drive Windows sees fit to display the files in groups (Context -> Arrange Icons By -> [x] Show in Groups). I want to disable this default, or rather, set it not to group files.

"Remember each folder's view settings" is disabled. Initally, when configuring after a reinstall, I customized one folder and clicked "Apply to All Folders".

I usually view files by type and the group titles in the "Show in Groups" view take up far too much unnecessary space. I am getting quite annoyed at having to disable it every time I browse a disc. Is there a registry setting I can play alter or add?


This is a repeat posting as suggestions posted in the previous thread were all tried but with no success. Previous thread available at

For reference, I tried the following suggestions:
1) HKCU\...\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer: NoSaveSettings = (DWORD)0
2) Checked processes active on folder browse and right click using Sysinternals Filemon to check for spyware/malware activity
3) HijackThis log contains no spyware/malware
4) Ran SFC, completed with no findings
5) Replaced msvcrt.dll with no effect
6) Tried saving settings with CTRL-Close after selecting settings with no CD in drive

None of these seemed to have any effect on the activity described above.

If it is indeed a peculiarity of WinXP I can live with it but if there is any way to make Explorer not display files in groups altogether, ever, I would very much appreciate a pointer. Thanks.
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MereteConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Hello aleemjuma
lol I think It maybe a quirk of windowsxp aleemjuma  unless I just dont get  your point.
your comment:
"Remember each folder's view settings" is disabled. <<< enable this may help:
Initally, when configuring after a reinstall, I customized one folder and clicked "Apply to All Folders".

From what I tried here it should apply with whatever your folder options view is applied.
This applies to all folders, and guessing cdrom when viewed with explorer.
So unfortunatley you may have to do this maunaly each time, the one fact that stands out is this, with folders views options that folder is an inert object, so the settings would remain intact until you either change the folder or rename it, but a cd does not constitute an inert object, as you keep using different cd's, and that I believe is the reason you cannot make this setting stick here.
You could try it using 2 cd exactly the same. :D

Prune Your Context Menus a few to  mull over,1895,1164646,00.asp

A Context Menu Handler for Windows Users That Can't Let Go
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Hi firstly by dis-abling this>>1) HKCU\...\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer: NoSaveSettings = (DWORD)0  kinda defeats the purpose to change settings ??
I know this may sound simple, but what happens if you r/click the empty space on the cd or dvd and arrange icons by>show in groups untick?
I am not sure  if you change the icons view on a dvd or cd, will have test this> yep you can, I just put a dvd with a few movies and bits and pieces and it opens to what do I want to do open folder> mine were just icons with no show in groups ticked, so I ticked arrange icons by name and they did and also in groups and was able to take this out as well.

Otherwise how have you set the my computer is this in show in groups, go to my computer r/click an empty space and untick in there.
See if tweak UI can help it also has an repair icons cache
Note: The Show in Groups option will not be available if >>List View is selected <<. Some say this is by design, others say it's an XP bug) Once Show in Groups has been selected the files will be sorted by alphabetical headings.

When Explorer is set to use Details view the right pane contains a series of details listed across the top of the right pane. The default details are Name, Size, Type, and Date Modified. Any one of the columns may be clicked to set it as the default to be used in the sort order. The small arrowhead following the detail name indicates whether the sort is in ascending or descending order. For most users the four default columns are more than sufficient, but if you want additional or different options they are available. Click View > Choose Details... and the Choose Details Property Sheet will open. In addition to the four (4) defaults there are twenty-eight (28) other details that can be added or substituted. Add whatever you want, but if you go for all of them it may take you a month of horizontal scrolling to see them all

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aleemjumaAuthor Commented:

Thanks for your suggestions.

Yes you are right about the NoSaveSettings, as it disables saving settings on Windows exit, but for completeness and also out of respect for the experts helping me I decided to try every suggestion provided to me (except the suggestion to reset all my saved folder settings by deleting all the ShellNoRoam bags - my issue is with new folder bags not currently saved ones).

Whenever I put in a NEW disc (i.e. one that has never been inserted before) the 'show in groups' is enabled and "Files Currently on the CD" appears at the top of every folder listing. I can indeed untick it, which will be remembered for that folder listing but I want to disable it for ALL future discs.

The setting is already unticked in My Computer.

As far as views are concerned, I only ever use the Thumbnails view to browse photos, and the Details view for everything else.

I will check TweakUI for a Show In Groups setting, thanks. However the Icon Repair function only resets the icon cache and does not affect the rest of the display. I will take a look at TweakUI this evening and let you know.

Yes I am aware of the crazy large number of columns one can have in the details view although I am happy to stick with NAME, SIZE, TYPE and DATE MODIFIED :-)

As I mentioned my issue is with Windows defaulting to showing items in groups when it sees a new disc. I am interested in finding the source of this default behaviour and whether or not it can be changed.

Thank you Aleem I honestly do not know if this is possible for such an instance, as you said it happens whenever you insert a> new< disc.
The options for Windows explorer when opening a disc are -take no action - open folder or- choose a default program to open with.
How the contents of a disc are displayed is dependent of these choices and what kind of disc is inserted.
The windows auto run/shell run  is associated with this  action.
Here is a few tasty morsels may not be what your looking for though.

ShellRun is a program that will display a web page when your CD is inserted into a Windows computer. ShellRun can alternatively display a PDF file, Word document, MP3 file or any other document. AutoRun works in Windows only. ShellRun displays a small pop up window and then attempts to run the appropriate viewer program to show your file.

The Explorer Options

Process Explorer Process Explorer shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.
aleemjumaAuthor Commented:
Thanks Merete,

TweakUI didn't help.

I have disabled autorun on my computer so the actions dialog box does not show up on inserting a disc.

With respect to those links you included, the first link was just to standard Explorer settings which I have explored ad nauseam. The second link was a list of some great tweaks which I have bookmarked! Unfortunately none of the tweaks in there were relating to my issue but thanks for those anyway.

I already have procexp and use it on a daily basis and I have not found any suspicious activity going through Explorer.
aleemjumaAuthor Commented:
the one fact that stands out is this, with folders views options that folder is an inert object, so the settings would remain intact until you either change the folder or rename it, but a cd does not constitute an inert object, as you keep using different cd's, and that I believe is the reason you cannot make this setting stick here.

Fabulous, Merete. I was looking either for a solution or an reason for the behaviour. Your explanation is the closest thing I think I'm going to get so I've given you the points.

Thanks again.
cool. Thank you aleemjuma
Here's a late addition to the topic. I've been looking for a solution to this same problem, and today stumbled onto a good answer. To prevent Windows XP from showing files in groups by default when browsing a CD, a simple solution is to disable XP's default CD burning setup.

This is done by running Regedit, going to
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer, changing the value of "NoCDBurning" from 0 to 1, and then rebooting.

This also solved another problem for me at the same time. When using the XP "search for files or folders" function on a CD, it would show the wrong path for most of the files displayed. Instead of showing where they are found on the CD, it would show where the system had copied them to, in its temporary "CD Burning" folder. This made the search view hard to work with because of the long path names. Disabling the default CD burning setup took care of this problem, too.

Now that I've made this change, the folders on my CD's have the same appearance when browsing as any other folders on the computer.

Not everyone would want to disable XP's CD burning system, but it works for me because I use Nero for burning CDs.

Thanks Snofriacus I'll borrow that for my database if that's ok, point noted also> Not everyone would want to disable XP's CD burning system.
i dont think there is a big call for this so it may become a treasure. :D
aleemjumaAuthor Commented:
Thanks so much, snofriacus!  Not only did this solve the question I asked but it got to the core of what I really wanted to do. I too use Nero to burn all my CD/DVD media so disabling XP's burning capabilities really hit the root.

Merete, I would suspect that while the significant majority of WinXP users who burn CDs would use XP's built-in functionality, the small percentage that will prefer to use third-party burning software still amounts to a huge number of people. Assuming further that these users might be more than likely tech-savvy users, if not power users (since they know enough to stay away from WinXP's burning  ;-p  and enough to select, install and use a third-party burning app), they might be quite interested in disabling XP burning, if only to free up valuable system resources. Of course this is highly assumptive but it's a thought :-)

I wish I could have given you the points, snofriacus, but you found me too late! Thanks for being selfless enough to submit a great workaround anyway.

Great! I'm glad this worked well for you. And yes Merete, please do borrow the tip for your database. Good to make this kind of info as readily available as we can.

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